Can You Eat Summer Sausage While Pregnant? (Quick Answer!)

By KidSpaceStuff •  Updated: 06/29/24 •  6 min read

When you’re pregnant, eating is like trying to find your way through a maze with many turns. Every bite you take comes with the weight of duty for two. Summer sausage is a food that many pregnant women want to know if it is safe to eat. Can a pregnant woman eat this delicious salted meat, or must it be off the menu for nine months? 

In this post, I’ll discuss the health benefits, possible risks, and suggestions for eating summer sausage while pregnant. Let’s dig in!

Can You Eat Summer Sausage While Pregnant?

Summer Sausages

Summer sausage is safer to eat during pregnancy when it’s warmed up, just like other deli meats. 

If you eat it without heating it, you don’t need to worry immediately because the risk of getting sick is still low. But for the best safety, pregnant women should continually heat store meats before eating them. This safety measure reduces the chance of getting sick from harmful germs and ensures that the mother and the unborn child are healthy. Always talk to a doctor or nurse before making changes to your food while you’re pregnant to make sure you’re making the best choices for your health and your baby’s health.

What is Summer Sausage?

Summer sausage is a cured, fermented sausage typically made from beef or a mixture of beef and pork. It is seasoned with various spices, depending on the recipe or region. The name “summer sausage” stems from the fact that when made traditionally, the sausage requires no refrigeration due to the fermentation process and drying, making it suitable for consumption during the warmer summer months.

The sausage is often cylindrical and can be found in various sizes, from small clubs to large logs. Its fermentation gives it a tangy taste, and the curing process allows it to be stored at room temperature for extended periods. However, many people prefer to refrigerate it today. Summer sausage is often sliced and eaten cold, making it popular for picnics, charcuterie boards, and snacks.

Risks and Benefits of Eating Summer Sausage While Pregnant

Risks of Eating Summer Sausage While Pregnant

  1. Bacteria: Cold deli meats, including summer sausage, can carry a bacteria called listeria. Listeria can cause an illness that could harm the mother and the baby.
  2. Preservatives: Summer sausage contains nitrates and nitrites, which are preservatives. Some studies suggest potential risks with high consumption of these during pregnancy.

Benefits of Eating Summer Sausage While Pregnant

  1. Protein: Summer sausage provides protein, which is essential for the growing baby.
  2. Convenience: It’s easy to prepare and can be a quick source of nutrition.

Tip for Safety

To reduce the risks, it’s best to heat the summer sausage until it’s steaming before eating it during pregnancy. This can kill any harmful bacteria.

Listeria Concerns About Sausages

When it comes to our food, safety is paramount. One particular concern that often comes up is the presence of bacteria in our meats, especially Listeria. Let’s delve into the specifics of Listeria and its relationship with sausages.

  1. What is Listeria? Listeria is a type of bacteria in some foods, notably in uncooked meats and unpasteurized dairy.
  2. Why Worry? Consuming food with Listeria can lead to listeriosis. This illness can be severe for pregnant women, older individuals, and those with weakened immune systems.
  3. Sausages and Listeria: Sausages, especially those not cooked or reheated correctly, can harbor Listeria. This includes cold cuts like summer sausage.
  4. How to Stay Safe: Properly cook sausages to the recommended temperature. When in doubt, ensure they’re steaming hot to kill potential Listeria.

Safe Consumption Practices of Summer Sausages

Summer sausages are a tasty treat, but there are ways to enjoy them safely, like any food. Here’s a straightforward guide on safe consumption practices for summer sausages.

  1. Check Expiry: Look at the “use by” or “expiration” date. Even if summer sausages can last a while, they are only good for a bit!
  2. Storage: Store sausages in a cool, dry place. If opened, keep them in the refrigerator to ensure they remain fresh.
  3. Reheat Properly: If you’re concerned about bacteria, heat the sausage until it’s steaming before eating. This helps kill any potentially harmful bacteria like Listeria.
  4. Avoid Cross-contamination: Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked foods. This prevents bacteria from natural foods from getting onto your cooked summer sausage.
  5. Hand Hygiene: Always wash your hands before handling any food, including summer sausages.

Alternatives to Summer Sausage During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is when many women become more conscious of their dietary choices. There are plenty of delicious alternatives if you’re wary of summer sausage due to potential risks. Here are six easy-to-find and nutritious substitutes:

#1: Grilled Chicken Breast 

A lean source of protein, chicken breast is versatile and can be seasoned to your preference.

#2: Turkey Slices 

Opt for low-sodium, oven-roasted turkey slices. They’re a great source of lean protein and can be used in sandwiches or salads.

#3: Cottage Cheese 

Rich in protein and calcium, cottage cheese can be eaten plain or with fruits for a tasty snack.

#4: Hard-Boiled Eggs 

Easy to prepare in bulk, they’re a protein-packed snack rich in essential nutrients for pregnancy.

#5: Tofu 

A tremendous plant-based protein option, tofu can be marinated and cooked to your liking.

#6: Hummus 

Made from chickpeas, hummus is rich in protein and fiber. Spread it on whole-grain bread or use it as a dip for veggies.


Is it safe to eat raw summer sausage while pregnant?

No, eating raw summer sausage while pregnant is not recommended.

How can I reduce the risk of Listeria when consuming summer sausage?

To reduce the risk of Listeria, always heat the summer sausage until it’s steaming before consumption.

Are there certain brands of summer sausage that are safer during pregnancy?

No specific brands are guaranteed safer, but always choose reputable brands and check for recalls or safety concerns.

Are you wondering how to enjoy your summer sausage? Check out the video below for a delicious recipe!

Final Thoughts

Summer sausage is safe to eat while pregnant, but it’s best to heat it until it steals hot to kill germs. 

During pregnancy, it’s essential to be extra careful about your eating. Summer sausage is convenient and tasty, but safety should always come first. Always be aware of how you cook and eat food during this time to ensure your health and your future child’s health.